Senior couple with hearing loss drinking morning coffee together

Hearing loss can impact many areas of your day-to-day life. Your pastimes, your professional life, and even your love life can be impacted by hearing loss, for example. Communication can become strained for couples who are dealing with hearing loss. This can cause increased stress, more arguments, and even the growth of animosity. In other words, left uncontrolled, hearing loss can negatively impact your relationship in substantial ways.

So how are relationships impacted by hearing loss? These difficulties occur, in part, because people are usually oblivious that they even have hearing loss. After all, hearing loss is typically a slow-moving and hard to detect condition. As a result, you (and your partner) might not detect that hearing loss is the underlying cause of your communication problems. This can result in both partners feeling alienated and can make it hard to find practical solutions.

Relationships can be helped and communication can begin to be repaired when hearing loss is diagnosed and couples get effective solutions from us.

Can hearing loss affect relationships?

When hearing loss is in the early stages, it’s difficult to detect. Couples can have substantial misunderstandings because of this. Consequently, there are some common issues that develop:

  • Feeling ignored: When someone doesn’t respond to what you say, you’re likely to feel ignored. When one of the partners has hearing loss but is unaware of it, this can frequently occur. Feeling like your partner isn’t paying attention to you is not good for long-term relationship health.
  • Arguments: Arguments are fairly common in almost all relationships. But arguments will be even more aggravating when one or both partners are dealing with hearing loss. Arguments can become more frequent too. Hearing loss related behavioral changes, like requiring things to be painfully loud, can also become a source of tension
  • Couples often confuse hearing loss for “selective hearing”: Selective hearing is what happens when somebody hears “we’re having brownies for dessert” very clearly, but somehow does not hear “we need to take out the garbage before we eat”. In some cases, selective hearing is a conscious behavior, in other instances, it’s quite unintended. One of the most common effects of hearing loss on a spouse is that they might start to miss words or specific phrases will seem garbled. This can often be mistaken for “selective hearing,” causing resentment and tension in the relationship.
  • Intimacy may suffer: Communication in a relationship is usually the basis of intimacy. And when that communication becomes harder, all parties might feel more separated from each other. Increased tension and frustration are frequently the consequence.

In many cases, this friction begins to happen before any actual diagnosis of hearing loss. Feelings of resentment may be worse when parties don’t know hearing loss is the root issue (or when the partner with hearing loss insists on dismissing their symptoms).

Living with a person who is dealing with loss of hearing

How do you live with somebody who is dealing with hearing loss when hearing loss can create so much conflict? This will only be a problem for couples who aren’t willing to develop new communication strategies. Some of those strategies include the following:

  • Encourage your partner to come in for a hearing exam: Your partner’s hearing loss can be managed with our help. When hearing loss is under control, communication is generally more successful (and many other areas of tension may recede too). In addition, treating hearing loss is a safety issue: hearing loss can effect your ability to hear the telephone, smoke detectors and fire alarms, and the doorbell. You might also fail to hear oncoming traffic. Your partner can get help managing any of these potential issues by scheduling an appointment with us.
  • Try to talk face-to-face as frequently as possible: Communicating face-to-face can provide a wealth of visual cues for someone with hearing loss. Your partner will be able to read facial cues and body language. It’s also easier to preserve concentration and eye contact. By giving your partner more visual information to process they will have a simpler time understanding what you mean.
  • Patience: When you’re aware that your partner is dealing with hearing loss, patience is particularly important. You might have to repeat yourself more frequently or raise the volume of your voice. It might also be necessary to speak in a slower cadence. This kind of patience can be challenging, but it can also drastically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
  • When you repeat what you said, try using different words: Typically, you will try to repeat what you said when your partner doesn’t hear you. But try switching the words you use rather than using the same words. Hearing loss can impact some frequencies of speech more than others, which means some words may be harder to understand (while others are easier). Your message can be reinforced by changing the words you utilize.
  • Help your partner get used to their hearing aids: Perhaps you could do things like taking over the grocery shopping or other chores that cause your partner stress. There also may be ways you can help your partner get accustomed to their hearing aids and we can assist you with that.

What happens after you get diagnosed?

Hearing examinations are typically non-invasive and really simple. In most circumstances, individuals who are tested will do little more than put on specialized headphones and raise a hand when they hear a tone. You will be better able to regulate your symptoms and your relationships after you get a diagnosis.

Encouraging your partner to get in touch with us can help ensure that hearing loss doesn’t sabotage your happiness or your partnership.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.